Underrepresented Minority Communities in Planetary Science Travel Grant Form

The makeup of the planetary science community does not reflect the full diversity of the United States, and in particular Black/African American, Indigenous, and Latinx communities are heavily underrepresented relative to the US labor force population (Rivera-Valentìn et al., 2020). Therefore, the DPS is offering funds to encourage and support participation within planetary science of students, scientists, and other space professionals who are members of these underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. In partnership with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), awards are available for members of Black/African American, Indigenous, and/or Latinx communities to support attendance at the annual DPS meeting and/or the annual NSBP meeting. The fund is intended to support DPS and NSBP involvement, via DPS or NSBP meeting travel (when meetings are in person and not virtual) and registration fees, and/or DPS or NSBP membership fees. The call for applications for 2023 grants will open June 15, 2023 and close on Aug 7, 2023 (or later if DPS abstract selection notification is delayed).  Award notifications are planned by the end of August, and the award team will work with the DPS meeting organizers to accommodate the various DPS registration deadlines.

Funds will be awarded in consultation with the DPS Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee (PCCS) and NSBP Earth and Planetary Systems Sciences (EPSS) leads. Since the DPS and NSBP have varied registration and membership fees depending on membership category, and travel expenses vary from person to person, we ask applicants to summarize their funding requests. Since this program is intended to broaden participation in planetary science, those newer to the planetary science community will be given preference, but past awardees may receive another award. Participants at either meeting are not required to submit an abstract to be eligible, although applicants who are presenting will be given preference. Additionally, applicants do not need to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and may also apply to the DPS Hartmann travel fund.

The evaluation criteria that will be used to determine the allocation of funding are:

  • Would the applicant’s meeting attendance advance the goals of AAS DPS to improve participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in planetary science?
  • Is the applicant’s work and background relevant to the topics covered by the meeting?
  • Is the applicant presenting at the meeting?
  • Is the URM grant necessary and/or sufficient for the applicant to attend the meeting? 
  • Is the applicant’s attendance at the meeting particularly important given their career stage? (e.g., actively looking for jobs)

In addition to questions about the applicant and their interest in attending a meeting, there are optional questions related to how applicants are learning about this program and how the application process can be improved. This is the fourth year of this DPS effort, and we appreciate feedback that will guide continued DPS work to support members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and increase the diversity and inclusivity of the planetary science community.

An example travel budget is provided below and typical lodging and per diem rates can be estimated from U.S. government limits: https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates or rates posted for conference-affiliated hotels or other services. In-person travel awards are expected to generally be ~$1500-2000, but can be adjusted based on the applicant’s expressed needs. Proposers are also asked to indicate which costs, if any, could potentially be covered by other funding sources. This information will be used in the event that total requests exceed available funding, to maximize participation.

An example of a budget for in-person meeting attendance:

Meeting Registration: $450
Airfare: $400
Ground Transportation: $100
Hotel: 7 nights @ $90/night = $630
Per Diem: 7.5 days @ $45/day = $315
Total = $1895

NOTE: We understand that unforeseen circumstances may lead to additional costs outside of your control. While we would endeavor to assist any grant recipients with unexpected costs, we cannot guarantee that additional funds would be available beyond the initial grant allocation. If the majority of your trip is funded through a DPS travel grant, we encourage you to investigate travel insurance, which for instance can be available through your credit card or home institution. The cost of such insurance can be included in your submitted budget.